Director of Graduate Studies & 1st. year PhD Advisor:
Nadia Abu El-Haj- 411G Milbank, Barnard College, 212-854-7628, firstname.lastname@example.org
Columbia’s graduate department is the founding
department in American anthropology. Some of the most influential
anthropologists of the modern era have taught at the University, including
Franz Boas, the father of modern American anthropology, and Margaret Mead,
whose pioneering research in New Guinea made her one of the nation’s most
renowned anthropologists. The department offers courses in the three major
subdisciplines of anthropology: sociocultural anthropology, physical
anthropology, and archaeology. The major geographical areas of the world are
covered, with particular emphasis on Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast
Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Middle East.
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Ph.D. Program in Anthropology
The Ph.D. in anthropology typically requires three years of course work, one to two years of dissertation research, and one to two years of dissertation write-up. The ideal time frame for completion is five years, but circumstances vary.
The entering student’s program is arranged in consultation with the department’s advisors. After the first year, the student chooses a committee and each graduate student’s program and progress are reviewed annually by the entire department.
M.Phil. Degree in Sociocultural Anthropology
Ph.D. students in sociocultural anthropology must fulfill the following requirements in order receive the M.Phil. degree and to be advanced to Ph.D. candidacy as described below:
1. Eight departmental courses for letter grades.
2. Proficiency in one language at an advanced level (fourth year or better) to be determined by course work at the graduate level and/or examination. (For students for whom English is not their first language, a high level of English fulfills the requirement.)
3. Advanced Certifying Examinations (ACEs) consist of two written exams on topics relevant to the dissertation proposal followed by an oral examination based on the content of the written exams. One of the written exams may focus on the ethnographic area most relevant to the dissertation project (e.g. China), while the other exam may focus on the theoretical area most relevant to one's research (e.g. political anthropology). Bibliographies of materials to be covered in these exams must be submitted to the faculty readers (two readers for each exam) during the semester prior to the one in which the student takes these exams. Upon successful completion of the ACEs and all other course and language requirements, the M.Phil. degree is awarded. At this time the department may recommend that the candidate not continue toward the Ph.D. degree.
4.Teaching requirements: Participation in the instructional activities of the department is for three years. Normally, in the second, third and fourth years of study, students gain exposure to teaching as assistants to professors in seminar courses or as section leaders in lecture courses. Students who are interested in broadening their teaching apprenticeships are eligible to teach in the Core Program once they have received the M.Phil. Students may only apply to be a preceptor if they have or expect to have the M.Phil. by the May prior to being appointed as a Preceptor, and if they are not past their sixth year of registration during the first year of the preceptorship. Students may not hold instructional appointments after year seven.
Dissertation proposal: Following the successful completion of the M.Phil. degree, a well-developed research proposal is presented before an examining committee of at least three faculty members. Note: this review may take place at the same time as the oral component of the ACEs (see #3 above) but often occurs at a later date. The dissertation proposal must directly pertain to the dissertation research and must be completed and accepted in advance of dissertation research. The committee recommends to the department whether or not to advance the student to the Ph.D. candidacy.
M.Phil. Degree in Archaeology
Students specializing in archaeology must fulfill the following requirements to receive the M.Phil. degree and be advanced to Ph.D. candidacy:
1. Nine courses in the department: One of those must be a theory course in archaeology, and at least one must be in the sociocultural field.
2. Proficiency in one language at an advanced level (fourth year or better), to be determined by course work and/or examination. (For students for whom English is not their first language, a high level of English fulfills the requirement.) Proficiency in analytical methods may also be required or substituted for the language exam as the committee determines is necessary for each student’s individual program. Requirements for such proficiency are tailored to individual students’ needs but are construed to include such fields as statistics, GIS, computer modeling, remote sensing, and similar fields.
3. Two Advanced Certifying Examinations (ACEs): One in archaeological method and theory and one in the student’s topical/regional specialty. In a typical program, these should be completed by the end of the third year in residence.
4. Participation in the instructional activities of the department for three years. Normally, in the second, third and fourth years of study, students gain exposure to teaching as assistants to professors in seminar courses or as section leaders in lecture courses. Students who are interested in broadening their teaching apprenticeships are eligible to teach in the Core Program once they have received the M.Phil.
5. Dissertation proposal on the subject of research for the Ph.D. dissertation, to be defended before an Orals Committee of at least three faculty members, after the ACEs have been approved. On the basis of the proposal and its defense, the Committee determines whether or not to advance the student to Ph.D. candidacy.
Ph.D. Program in Biological Anthropology
The program in biological anthropology is housed in the Department of Ecology, Environmental, and Evolutionary Biology (E3B), where the Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Ph.D. in Evolutionary Primatology are also offered. Degree requirements for this program are listed under Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology.
The Ph.D. degree is earned after the defense and final deposit of the dissertation according to the regulations of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The written dissertation is first submitted to the three-member committee composed of the student’s faculty sponsor and two department advisors who may request revisions. After the departmental committee has approved the dissertation for defense, a date for the oral defense is arranged. That defense takes place before a five-member University committee, chosen by the department in consultation with the candidate. At least two faculty members must come from outside the anthropology department.
For the Free-Standing M.A. in Anthropology
This program is open to qualified students who do not intend to earn the Ph.D. degree at this stage of their careers. The requirements for this degree are not the same as those for the M.A. degree taken by candidates for the Ph.D. degree and do not satisfy certain of the Ph.D. requirements in the department. The program is designed specifically for those who may wish to improve their particular professional competence by pursuing a master’s degree.
The free-standing M.A. program involves the equivalent of one full year of course work, i.e. two Residence Units. It requires 30 points, 18 of which are taken for letter grade credit. A minimum of 18 of the 30 points, including 12 letter grade points, must be earned in courses offered by the Anthropology department. All students in this program are required to take an introductory graduate course in anthropology for letter grade credit. Candidates are expected to submit an acceptable master’s essay. This can result from work completed in a research seminar. Other aspects of the program may be worked out on an individual basis with advisors.
Students can work toward the M.A. degree either full time or part time. Full-time students must receive the M.A. degree at the end of the first year of study. Part-time students must complete the degree within four years, and their progress is monitored by the department.
For the Free-Standing M.A. in Museum Anthropology
See under Museum Anthropology.
A comprehensive program of financial aid, including fellowships and appointments in teaching, is available to all Ph.D. students. Ph.D. students admitted to the program receive annually the prevailing stipend and appropriate tuition and health fees, through the fifth year, provided that they remain in good academic standing. If students receive a year of advanced standing they are entitled to four years of fellowship funding.
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Additional information on Advising will be posted here soon.
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Applications and Admissions
See our general Graduate Applications and Admissions page, as well as the GSAS website, for information on applying to the M.A. program.
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1) All Ph.D. students are fully funded for five years (or less with Advanced Standing). This includes tuition and fees and a stipend which changes every year. (2006 = $20,000)
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2) There are further funds available for qualified minority candidates.
3) All students have rights to summer funding.